Message for Giving Tuesday

December 1, 2020

Dear AWP members:

This Thanksgiving our gatherings were smaller, and yet many of us were able to share our love, hope, and gratitude from our bubbles thanks to video calls (what a year: bubbles and Zoom!). We at AWP have been considering some of the many things we are grateful for—you, our members, our caring community, the next great book we’ll read, the power of universities and colleges to change lives, and the transformative work being done by so many underfunded community-based literary arts organizations across our nation. 

This has been a tough year, and never has cross-community solidarity felt more urgently needed. Our friends at Kundiman have assembled a list of extraordinary literary arts organizations that serve writers of color. I do not have enough words to talk about the incredible work these groups, (including Kundiman itself) do day in and day out, usually on a shoestring. From providing fellowships that nurture emerging writers to free community workshops for youth and seniors and everyone in-between, the groups on this list perform extraordinary feats that help us build a literature that is vibrant, diverse, and utterly necessary to our well-being and our future.

In her Nobel acceptance speech, the late Toni Morrison wrote:

Make up a story. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief's wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul. You...can speak the language that tells us what only language can: how to see without pictures. Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.

I’ve been thinking about that last sentence—“Language alone is mediation.” In this time when we have experienced such turmoil and division, what better way to come together this Giving Tuesday than by supporting the community literary arts organizations so vital to keeping our stories alive and thriving?  Please feel free to share with us via Twitter or Facebook the name of the organization you are donating to and why. Let’s celebrate and be grateful for our literary arts nonprofits.

Wishing you the very best this holiday season,

Cynthia Sherman

Executive Director



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